Members of Burlington City Council have had their first formal glimpse into a controversial proposal to build a very long, nine-storey building between 40 and 70 Plains Road East in Aldershot. While most members simply listened to the public delegations, several made it clear that they do not like what they see.
Councillor Rory Nisan called for changes to the plan including: reduced height, provision of retail space and more respect for the City’s mid-rise building guidelines, especially related to the length of the building. “It’s over a football field long. It’s too long. For me that’s got to change. It’s really important”.
Infinity Developments wants to construct a condominium building that would stretch 123 metres across the south side of Plains Road East between Cooke Boulevard and Birchwood Avenue.
Several delegations from the neighbourhood spoke out against the development during this week’s Statutory Public Meeting.
Ron Moore, who said he was speaking on behalf of many residents, said he is extremely upset about the proposed building. “We are opposed to this new development 100%”. He spoke about a variety of concerns including the volume of traffic that may result from all the new buildings proposed in the area. “Adding these units up, along with this proposal, works out to be almost a thousand new units within one block. ….It’s going to be a traffic nightmare”.
Another resident, Alison, said she went door to door in the neighbourhood and learned that most residents oppose the proposed building because it is too large, too tall and threatens the privacy of single-family homes.
She added that traffic volume is already cutting through Fairwood and Birchwood to avoid the intersection at Plains and Waterdown Road. She worried about the safety of her child. “It’s honestly heart stopping when I see a car because people speed through”.
Alison said she conducted a google survey with 82 of 86 respondents opposed to the building.
Other delegations pointed out that there are two schools in the area and traffic and speeding are already a problem. Another said the nieghbourhood would be satisfied with six-storeys as proposed in the new Official Plan but not nine.
Judy Worsley, Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area Coordinator, objected to the fact that the proposed building offers no at-grade retail space and got the support of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.
“I too share Judy’s desire to ensure that this really long stretch of Plains, as proposed in this application, has some commercial in it”.
Worsley said she was “beating the drum for more retail space” and urged the City to get on with the detailed Area Specific Plan to provide a complete vision for the neighbourhood.
The goal of the Statutory Public Meeting was to provide input to Planning staff who will return later with a recommendation on whether to approve the developer’s request to amend both the Official Plan and the Zoning Bylaw to permit the building.
The proposal calls for a nine-storey building with 360 residential units, five levels of underground parking and a driveway entrance at Cooke Blvd. The rear of the building will step back, from the fourth floor up, in an attempt to protect the privacy of the neighours to the south. The developer’s representative referred to the large structure as two “U-shaped” buildings joined together.
The City refers to the building as ten-storeys because of the roof top amenities.
The developer is trying to justify the size of the building by pointing to its proximity to the Aldershot GO Station which has been identified as a major growth area.
Written correspondence from the neighbours to the City frequently refers to privacy concerns for nearby residents due to over-look from the higher floors of the building.
The city has already failed to meet the Provincial deadline for making a decision on the application. The developer has the right now to appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal or to continue negotiating with the City.
By Rick Craven